Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova follows Serena Williams on exclusive French Open list

World No 333 Pavlyuchenkova through to the French Open round-of-16.

by Dzevad Mesic
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova follows Serena Williams on exclusive French Open list

World No 333 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has become the second lowest-ranked player to reach the French Open round-of-16 after Serena Williams. At the 2018 French Open, Williams was playing in her third tournament after returning from maternity leave.

At the time, Williams was ranked at No 451 in the world and she made the French Open round-of-16 before giving a walkover to Sharapova. This Friday, Pavlyuchenkova defeated fellow Russian Anastasia Potapova 3-6 6-3 6-0 to reach the French Open round-of-16.

Pavlyuchenkova, a former world No 11, appeared in just three tournaments last year due to an injury and that's why she experienced a massive ranking blow.

Pavlyuchenkova joins Williams on a French Open milestone list

On Friday, Pavlyuchenkova pulled off one of her most impressive wins since returning to tennis in 2023.

Pavlyuchenkova was up by a break and had a 3-2 lead before world No 25 Potapova earned back-to-back breaks and won four games in a row to seal the opener. In the second set, Pavlyuchenkova twice blew a break before breaking Potapova again in the seventh and ninth games to force a third set.

After winning the last three games of the second set, Pavlyuchenkova also won the third set without a game lost. Pavlyuchenkova, who is 31 years old, admitted at the start of the French Open that she felt certain changes after returning to tennis.

"I said to my coach, 'Look, I know I'm 30-plus now and not 18 anymore, but I am still open to changes' basically because I know me coming back this year, I could feel the difference skipping almost a year off, the level of women tennis is pretty high and incredible.

I mean, every girl is hitting so hard. In Australia I was so late on every ball, and I was, like, damn, I'm so, so far away. Yeah, I think that's also what I'm trying to focus on," Pavlyuchenkova said in Paris.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Serena Williams French Open